Our Beginning

In 1967 the Salt River flooded, washing out many of the migrant camps located along the river bank. A group of women supported by “The Order of True Sisters” and other Phoenix agencies banded together to raise money to supply back-to-school clothes for the children of the migrant families. Founders Lucy Allen and Selma Shefler raised enough resources in the first year to provide 871 children with clothing, establishing Back-to-School Clothing Drive.

Today, Back-to-School Clothing Drive provide for students in Maricopa County and Northern Arizona.

More About Back-to-School Clothing Drive

Clean clothes, shoes that fit, and a backpack stocked with school supplies … most children don’t think twice about getting these necessities when they start school. But for children whose families can’t afford them, such items – and the self-confidence they bring – are hopelessly out of reach.

Founded in 1967, Back to School Clothing Drive provides these fundamental items to high-need children throughout Arizona.  Through our three programs we help more than 25,000 children from 260+ schools in 40 school districts.  These programs help break down barriers to early childhood school success, build self-esteem and self-confidence, and ultimately confident, strong students ready to learn, achieve, and advance.

Our mission is to provide new school outfits and uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies to children in need. We help break down barriers to early-childhood school and education success.

Each July, more than 9,500 students benefit from our “New Clothes, New Beginnings” clothing distribution through our partnership with BHHS Legacy Foundation’s “Backpack Buddies” program.  Our Student Attire for Education (SAFE) program offers matching grants to schools that shop in our online store to fill their onsite clothing closets. All proceeds from the store are invested back into our program to fund additional grants and help more children. Finally, Our Stitches of Love program consists of 500 volunteer seamstresses who sew clothes all year so students can return to school with an item that was handmade just for them.

With the help of our volunteers, corporate sponsors, foundation grants, and donors, Back to School Clothing Drive allows students to focus on what’s truly important –  getting an education.

Executive Officers

Vincent Payne, Board President – Intel (ret.)
Ken Jacobson, Treasurer – Avnet
Charmane Osborn – City of Phoenix


Elvy Barton – SRP
Marie G. Brennan – Deer Valley Education Foundation
Katie Callaway – Fennemore Craig
Rosa Casas – Wells Fargo
Lisa Deane – State Bar of Arizona
Amy Gilner – Platinum Living Realty
Bill Hawley – Charles Schwab
Jorge Hernandez – UPS
Ian Schwartz – CBS5 KPHO/3TV KTVK/AZFamily.com
Bonnie Smith – First American Title

Back to School Clothing Drive does not discriminate against any employee, client, board member, volunteer or program participants/recipients on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, language, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic characteristics, financial status,  U.S. military veteran status or any disability.

The Back to School Clothing Drive delivers its main program services (Distribution) at Grand Canyon University Arena, which is fully ADA Compliant. Upon request, we make reasonable access accommodations at our offices at 360 E. Coronado Road, Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Please direct any grievances, questions or concerns relating to this policy or our service delivery to Back to School Clothing Drive, 360 E. Coronado Road, Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85004, [email protected], 602.256.9408.

Who We Reach Per Year

25,000 Children
260 Schools
40 School Districts

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Donating gives them more than just clothes. You give them hope for a better future. Join Back-to-School Clothing Drive’s efforts and become part of a bigger cause by donating today.

Thank you.